Friday, September 23, 2005

Committee Endorses Merit Selection for Supreme Court Justices

The State Journal reports here that in an 8-7 vote, the West Virginia State Bar Judicial Selection Committee has approved a merit selection process for justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

According to the article, here's the proposal:
The committee suggests a nominating committee made up of 13 citizens -- two lawyers elected by a vote of the State Bar from each of the states' three Congressional districts and six citizens, with one from each Congressional district selected the by the speaker of the House and one selected by the president of the Senate. The final member would be designated by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court and would serve as chairperson of the nominating commission.

In the event of a vacancy on the court, the nominating commission would select and announce three nominees. The public would have a chance to comment on the nominees, and the governor would appoint one of the three to a 12-year term. At the end of the term, the seat would be available for a new appointment.

The State Bar committee also suggested the same procedure be used for any mid-term vacancies in circuit or family courts. Those nominating committees also would include two additional members, a lawyer and citizen from the local circuit.
Sounds complicated to me. Why not just let the Governor appoint a candidate and have the nominee confirmed by the legislature. She would serve an 8 year term, then face a non-partisan tenure election every 8 years.


Anonymous said...

It's complicated because 13 lawyers came up with the process. Tell me how this process isn't going to be political.

Anonymous said...

We can not completely divorce the judiciary from politics. However, state-wide elections give us the best politicians, not necessarily (or even usually) the best judges.